More Articles

Steps to Take When Hospital Negligence has Occurred

Should you or your child suffer injury and damages as the result of hospital negligence, you have the right to take legal steps against the institution to receive compensation. A few frequently asked questions about the steps to take when hospital negligence has occurred and related matters are briefly answered below to help you make an informed decision.

What if there is a sign at the hospital to state indemnity from liability?

Most patients have to sign documents upon admittance to a hospital in which they acknowledge that the hospital and its staff cannot be held responsible for damages suffered as a result of using the hospital and services.

How long does it take to receive compensation?

It depends on the complexity of the particular situation and the amount that is claimed. If the case must be heard in High Court because the amount claimed is in excess of a R300 000.00, then the general timeframe is between two and four years. If the matter is settled out of court, then compensation can be expected sooner.

What can be claimed?

The patient can submit a claim for special damages, which include the damages suffered related to past, present and future medical costs related to the injury, the loss of support and maintenance where the person responsible for the claimant’s financial and care-giving support has died as the result of hospital negligence, and past and future income loss. The second part of the hospital negligence claim is for general damages suffered that relate to the pain and suffering experienced as the result of the malpractice or negligence.

Why are there sometimes two court trials?

The first is to decide whether the doctor or hospital is liable for malpractice/negligence (merits of the claim) and the second is to determine what amount should be paid for the damages suffered (quantum of the claim).

What information is needed?

The medical law attorneys will discuss the information requirements with the client, which include medical history records, treatment records, and relevant proof of costs. The attorneys will request the medical records from the relevant institution and persons.

What is the first step in initiating a hospital negligence lawsuit?

The patient/claimant should first meet with medical law attorneys to determine whether medical negligence has taken place, whether the hospital can be held responsible, what the probability for successful litigation or a settlement will be, and which supporting documents are needed.


Note that the information in this article is for information purposes only and should not be seen as an attempt to provide legal advice. We strongly recommend that you contact us at Adele van der Walt Incorporated for professional legal advice.

Contact us